Collette Priddy, Joseph Glaser, & Tymika Prince in The Wedding Singer. Photo: Redline Performing Arts.
The Wedding Singer
Music by Matthew Sklar
Lyrics by Chad Beguelin
Book by Tim Herlihy and Chad Beguelin
Directed by Zachary Boone
A review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2022 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
The 1980s are alive and well with Redline Performing Arts’ current production of The Wedding Singer. A romp set in 1985, this romantic musical adaptation of the Adam Sandler classic has all the right moves. And in this musical, boy meets girl, writes the perfect song, and gets to walk down the aisle and live happily ever after in the haze of hairspray and MTV.
From start to finish, The Wedding Singer is a blast from the past. Those of us familiar with the 1998 film will appreciate the new and original delivery of classic lines about Van Halen t-shirts and expensive CD players. Video screens surround the venue with music videos, the “Where’s Beef?” and “Time to make the donut!” commercials with various clips from Wall Street and fashion for extra flair. Bright costumes, floppy bows and a slew of celebrities from Boy George to Ronald Reagan are pleasantly made fun of and referenced with glee.
In this show, the stage and house of the Art Sanctuary are transformed into an actual wedding venue complete with a dance floor surrounded by audience seating. The band remains on stage accompanying actors and gives a real-life reception feel. While this idea is a clever tie into the multiple amounts of weddings within the show, I suggest any future audience member avoid sitting on the side rows if possible. From my side aisle seat, I missed a majority of lines due to the poor venue acoustics. Most regrettably, the high-energy dancing faced mostly downstage towards the center section of seating.
As for the performers in this fizzy and poppy musical about love, Joseph Glaser brings a moody yet goofy performance as Robby Heart. A little bit of a romantic hero and a little bit of former metalhead, Glaser’s Robby is a would-be crooner who is in love with love. His nasal rendition of “Somebody Kill Me” is possibly one of the funniest performances of this theater season. Robby is joined by his two bandmates, George (Alex Roby) and Sammy (Richie Goff). Goff does well playing off of Robby’s heartbreak with flighty chauvinism while Roby’s George offers more emotional support while making the reference to the Culture Club’s main singer fully noted. Robby enlists the help of his sassy Grandmother Rosie played by Kristy Calman. Equal parts sweet and salty, Calman relishes in her comedic moments whether she’s sitting on a vibrating bed or rapping her heart out at an anniversary party.
Robby’s heartache is caused by Linda, a viciously biting groupie in love with a rock star lifestyle. Erica Goodman brings the house down with not one but two appearances. Goodman brings power ballad energy with “A Note from Linda” while “Let Me Come Home” is a star-making performance.
Collette Priddy plays Julia the girl next door who works alongside Robby and falls in love with him throughout the show. Priddy brings dignity to Julia as she suffers through an exhaustive engagement with slimy yuppie Glen Gulia, played with greasy ease by Adam Byrd. Her best friend Holly, played by Tymika Prince, brings contrast and flirtation. Prince brings Madonna-inspired flair to “Saturday Night in the City.” As Julia and Robbie’s relationship grows into a lovely romance, Priddy and Glaser share excellent harmony. “Grow Old with You” is simply staged and beautifully sung between the two, making for a truly sweet moment.
This is one musical that packs a lot of dancing, singing, and comedy into one show and moves swiftly from one comedic scene to another. Whether you want to see a hilarious love story or throwback references to the era of greed and access, The Wedding Singer has it for you. Most importantly, it comes with a happy ending.
The Wedding SingerNovember 17-19, 2022
Redline Performing Arts
1433 S, Shelby St.
Louisville, KY 40217
Kate Barry has worked with many different companies around town since graduating in 08 from Bellarmine University. She’s worked with CenterStage, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions. She used to work in the box office at that little performing arts center on Main Street but now she helps save the planet. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. Her play “Catcher Released” won an honorable mention with the Kentucky Playwrites Workshop. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. When she is not writing, she teaches yoga. Thanks for reading!